NBA Finals: Barack Obama makes surprise virtual appearance as LA Lakers blowout Miami Heat in Game 1

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Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, there have been no supporters at games inside the NBA ‘Bubble,’ but fans have been invited by the the league to watch matches on the Disney campus in real time and have their live reactions streamed and it’s become quite a phenomenon on social media.

Pre-pandemic, where famous faces were regularly seen in courtside seats, seperated by several rows and security guards from your ‘average Joe,’ in the virtual crowd aforementioned ‘Joe’ finds himself sat next to NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, or high-fiving Lil Wayne.

One game saw Lakers’ virtual fans all sporting unibrows in honor of LA star Anthony Davis — a man nicknamed ‘The Brow’ for his famous unibrow.

Obama used his appearance in the star-studded crowd to thank poll workers participating in the upcoming elections.
In the video posted on social media the former US President said: “I wanted to come on to give a shout out to all the folks who are volunteering as poll workers in this upcoming election. It can be a thankless job, it’s not one of those things you think about but it is absolutely vital for a democracy and I appreciate you.

“Democracy doesn’t work if just a few people do it, that’s like playing with half the team.” continued Obama, “but it’s only that way if people aren’t participating. If people get involved then we get the best of us and that’s what I’m hoping is going to happen.”

Anthony Davis (left) and LeBron James (right) made a combined 59 points, 22 rebounds and 14 assists in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
It was the usual suspects doing the damage for the Lakers. Davis scored 34 points and nine rebounds, while LeBron James scored 25 points, made 13 rebounds and assisted his teammates nine times.

Miami weren’t helped by the loss of three starters to injury. NBA veteran Goran Dragic, and All-Stars Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler all left the court with injuries. Butler was able to return after an ankle injury but the damage to the Heat was done.

Dragic reportedly suffered a plantar fascia tear in his left foot, while Adebayo struggled with a recurrence of a shoulder injury picked up in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtic.
Both players may be able to return for Game 2 on Friday though. Adebayo reportedly intends to play, while Dragic is said to have been able to put pressure on his injured foot when leaving the game.
Jimmy Butler was one of the three Miami Heat stars to go down with injury, along with Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo. Butler was able to return to the game in the third quarter after recovering from an ankle injury.

The Heat opened up an early lead of 25-12 before a Davis-led Lakers’ pushback gave LA a lead they never gave up for the remainder of the game.

Underdogs Miami guarded the paint well early, but allowed the Lakers too much space to shoot. James and co took full advantage as they scored 65% of their attempts from behind the three-point line, scoring 12 of the Laker’s 15 three-point shots in the first half alone.

The Heat’s injuries hurt them badly, and by the end of the third quarter the Lakers led by 93-67. The Heat outscored their opponents in the final quarter, but it was too little, too late.

Despite the dominant performance, James wasn’t altogether happy with how the Lakers finished the game.

‘The job is not done’

In a video posted to the Lakers’ Twitter account, James said: “We ain’t satisfied. I don’t like the way we played.

“I liked the way we played in the second quarter (and) third quarter. But the way we ended, that’s unacceptable.”

He added to reporters: “We’ve got so much more work to do. The job is not done, we’re not satisfied with winning one game. It’s that simple.”
James was effusive in his praise of teammate Davis though, saying: “He’s been preparing for this moment all season. I’m happy to be on the same floor with him and in the same uniform.

“He was, once again, a force in every facet of the game, offensively and defensively.”

Davis was similarly critical of the victorious Lakers: “They came out very hot, we came out slow,” he told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols. “We can’t come out like that in Game 2. Like I said, this is a great team, they’re here for a reason.

“We want to win this series and become champions, we have got to play better from the start.”

Despite going 1-0 down and his team suffering a spate of injuries, Miami’s Butler is still confident his side will win, saying: “We’re still expecting to win. We still know that we can.”

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